"Proclaiming the Message"
Psalm 68:1-2 - God shall arise, His enemies shall be scattered; and those who hate Him shall flee before Him! As smoke is driven away, so you shall drive them away; as wax melts before fire, so the wicked shall perish before God!
The psalms sometimes contrast the difference between the righteous and the wicked. For example, "The LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish" (Psalm 1:6). Even though the Scripture often warns that the wicked will perish eternally, we may not spend a lot of time thinking about that topic. The thought of God's wrath against the wicked may make us uncomfortable, as when the psalmist prays that God would "break the teeth of the wicked" and let the wicked "be like the snail that dissolves into slime" (Psalm 58:6b, 8b). Is that what God wants?
Jesus tells us, "This is the will of My Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day" (John 6:40). That is what God wants. It is what He has done! He sent His Son into the world as the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the wicked and, apart from Christ, we were all in that category—wicked, unrighteous sinners, deserving God's wrath and eternal condemnation. God did not wait for us to become righteous before He acted in saving power. As the apostle Paul reminds us, "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8b).
Wherever the Good News of Jesus is proclaimed, the Holy Spirit is at work in the Word, calling people to repent and believe. Yet there are people who choose to reject the Lordship of Jesus and to follow instead the way of wickedness. During Jesus' earthly ministry, some of the Pharisees who opposed the Savior refused to receive John's baptism of forgiveness and so "rejected the purpose of God for themselves" (Luke 7:30b). The apostle John writes of terrible disasters that people would experience. Yet even then they "did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols" (Revelation 9:20b). The wicked so often mentioned in the psalms are those who choose, in sinful stubbornness, to reject God's gracious invitation.
We are not called to speculate on which people might be saved or decide who is "worthy" of salvation. We were not worthy, but by grace God brought us into the kingdom of His Son. Now we are called to share the hope that is ours in Jesus: "In Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:19). The message of repentance, forgiveness, and peace through faith in Jesus Christ is the message that we proclaim to the world. That is what God wants.
WE PRAY: Lord Jesus, lead us to true repentance and help us to be bold witnesses for You. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. How important is repentance in the life of a Christian?
2. Can you think of Old Testament examples of God intervening on behalf of Israel as they fought their enemies?
3. How can we speak to others about God's judgment and still be loving toward them?
Today's Bible Readings: 2 Samuel 15 Psalms 3 Psalms 69 John 4:27-54
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